Archaeologists begin excavation and exploration of historic Chetradeikot

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A team of archaeologists this week started excavation and exploration work at Chetradeikot in the municipality of Buddhabhoomi-10, Kapilvastu.

Archaeologists from the Department of Archaeology, Lumbini Development Trust and Durham University in the UK have started excavation work at Chetradeikot, a fort of historical and archaeological significance, using modern technological tools.

Trenches were dug at three different places within the fort premises according to a geophysical survey conducted in the area in 2020. The geophysical survey had revealed the existence of walls and ruins of temples or buildings.

Chetradeikot lies about a kilometer west of Tilaurakot, an ancient Shakya capital where Siddhartha Gautam spent his princely life before becoming the Buddha. It spans five bighas of land which come under the Department of Archaeology.

A trench 5m long and 1.5m wide was dug at the Chetradeikot premises for exploration. According to Himal Uprety, chief archaeologist of the Lumbini Development Trust, Indian archaeologist PC Mukherjee had unearthed the same spot in 1899 and recovered walls dating back to the 7th century.

“The place where Mukherjee excavated is also included in the project,” Uprety said. According to him, various goods like coals, bricks, metals and earth recovered during the excavation were collected for carbon dating.

The new excavations are expected to be helpful in determining the period and structures of ancient Chetradeikot.

“Chetradeikot is near the capital of Shakya, Tilaurakot. It may be a Shakya dynasty temple,” said archaeologist Basanta Bidari. According to him, Mukherjee’s report indicates that the ruins of two temples and three wells were recovered from Chetradeikot during his excavations in 1899.

“Several pieces of historical evidence have been recovered during the excavations of Tilaurakot and its surroundings. Evidence is also being collected from Chetradeikot which confirms its connection with historic Tilaurakot. The excavation and exploration work of Chetradeikot will be useful for put Tilaurakot on the UNESCO World Heritage List,” said archaeologist Ram Bahadur Kunwar, who is also head of the planning unit in the Department of Archaeology.

The Department of Archeology and the Lumbini Development Trust began excavating and exploring Tilaurakot and its surroundings in 2012.

Archaeologists believe that the excavations and exploration at Chetradeikot will be useful for the conservation and management of places related to Budhha. According to Kunwar, the goods recovered from the new excavation at Chetradeikot will be properly investigated.

A team of 28 people, including six archaeologists and students from Durham University, four archaeologists from the Department of Archaeology, two archaeologists from the Lumbini Development Trust, a Nepalese consultant and students from Lumbini Buddhist University, are involved in a month’s excavation work. .

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